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Hello,

 

 

 

I am a South Asian woman who entered Western's MPT program in the Fall of 2012 with a 3.83 GPA from my undergraduate degree. I completed my first semester with a B+ average. In the second semester I was performing well generally, however I had a few questions for clarification for two courses taught by the same professor. I made an appointment with her and within the first part of the meeting, the professor told me I was a memorizer, that I didn’t critically think and that memorizers don’t do well in her courses or the program. She didn’t answer my questions, just criticized me for asking them. I was so upset because these comments were not true and she was so harshly judging me with no proof. I was unable to fully concentrate which was very bad because the exam was in a week’s time. Due to lowered self-confidence, I failed by 1-2% on her midterm exam.

 

 

 

In the mandatory appointment with her to discuss reasons for the failure, she tells me I probably have a learning disability and need to get tested (testing was $1800). I told her I didn’t want that and that I always did very well academically. Learning disabilities can’t exist for one course! She reduced my degree in Psychology to mere memorization and told me the only reason I did well was that I was studying all the time (which she wouldn’t be in a position to ascertain and in any case I wasn’t due to several other commitments I had). She didn’t know the first thing about degrees in Psychology! She didn’t listen to me and throughout the next 6 months made derogatory comments such as telling me that if she was my clinical investigator, she would tell me to go back to Western and that I was an embarrassment to the program and the school. She criticized me in front of other students when I was practicing in the labs, telling me that if she was my patient she would think I'm incompetent and unprepared. She made loud comments for correction and physically moved my body into the correct position, classmates would turn and stare. My log of interactions would really shock you if you read it, she was so brazen making these comments thinking she would get away with it. Tells you something about the power structure at Western. She was upset I wouldn’t get tested and told the teaching assistants that I probably had a learning disability and that they should not try to help me. Consequently, they never answered my emails or met with me, even though they were required to as part of their obligations as teaching assistants. I had to meet with her as no one else would meet with me for help.

 

 

 

The professor told the Chair of the Dept about her assessment of my ability and once again the Chair reinforced that I needed to be screened- without even taking a look at the lack of evidence to show that I may be learning disabled. She had no direct observation of this "disability", I was actually getting a B+ in her cardio-respiratory course. I was referred by her to SSD. The “learning disability specialist” at the Services for Students with Disabilities who isn’t even qualified to do learning disability assessments (she referred me to a Psychologist to get it done) had the nerve in a meeting lasting less than 30 minutes to suggest I had a nonverbal learning disorder without having access to my academic, developmental or medical history. She did not administer any type of questionnaire to arrive at her conclusions. In sum, that is three White female authority figures telling me I had a learning disability within a one month time frame and that I should get tested. Words can not explain how hurtful and infuriating this was. I stood up to them and did not get the testing, this really angered the professor and caused a worse lashing out at me in terms of comments and grading.

 

 

 

I completed my first year at Western before being forced to withdraw without my second remedial exam (as allowed to all students). The 19% grading differential caused me to fail her course. Additionally, her and the two teaching assistants gave me 2.3/ 5 on lab participation even though I attended over 95% of the classes and was not late. On my peer feedback sheet, a large amount of students commented I was hardworking, persistent and determined. I was always in the labs practicing and gave it my all. When I asked for a grading rubric, they wouldn't give me one. When I complained formally on the appeal, they were forced to take this BS score out of my grading. Even though I presented my log of interactions and the 19% grading differential between her and 6 other examiners on 3 separate exams, the Chair of the Department, the Vice Provost and the SRBA concluded that the professor was justified in her comments, actions, and grading in my 3 internal appeals. They reasoned that because she had 25 years of teaching experience, that she was qualified to make judgments about student abilities and disabilities even on a first meeting. The fact that she had no specific training or degree on learning disabilities made no difference to them. Worth noting is that the professor was NEVER interviewed about the log of interactions or the cause of the grading differential at any level.

 

 

 

I wondered how the professor could make such ignorant comments about my ability but when I did the research, I found that there exist stereotypes that South Asian students tend to memorize and not critically think.

 

 

 

See for example: http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2009/08/does_the_south_asian_spelling_bee_reinforce_stereotypes.html

 

http://www.ibtimes.com/spelling-bee-blues-indians-domination-only-reasserts-negative-stereotypes-1286975

 

http://www.thegazelle.org/issue/29/opinion/usman-6/

 

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/29/153898668/why-indian-americans-reign-as-spelling-bee-champs

 

https://www.learnthat.org/news/why-indian-americans-rule-the-scripps-national-spelling-bee/

 

 

The professor in question had admitted and gone on record during a legal proceeding that she made those comments to me on the first meeting and that the log of interactions was for the most part true (although she denied I told her to stop touching me in the labs). Yet, Western spent thousands of dollars to defend her over a one year period! Actually, if Western had been reasonable and given me my second remedial exam during the internal appeal as they gave to all students before me, I might have not gone through with the legal proceeding (the case only finished in March 2015, thereby taking up 2 years since I withdrew in June 2013). I didn't find out until the internal emails were released on a legal summons that the Acting Chair had been having discussions about me from February 2013-June 2013 trying to figure out how to get documentation to support her decision of making me withdraw. She already concluded prematurely that I wouldn't be able to make it through the program and openly said so to her colleagues. So when the opportunity came for her to be consulted by the Vice Provost about whether I could have my second remedial, she was eager to decline my request. This worked against her as she got demoted (she is no longer Acting Chair, now just a professor). I find it unbelievable that Western would put a person who referred me to SSD to get learning disability testing and who had been friends and colleagues with this professor for over 20 years in charge of reading my appeal which contained the log of interactions and the grading difference. It was obvious from reading the emails and from our discussion back in February 2013 that she believed I had a disability. In front of my father in June 2013, she openly said that some people just aren't suited for graduate work, that in undergraduate studies they can get by with memorization but in graduate work critical thinking becomes essential. She said that I wouldn't be able to pass the Physiotherapy National Exams because the exam required critical thinking. This woman had the audacity to say that I failed because I refused to get testing and that the professor was acting conscientiously by continuously reminding me about getting tested.

 

She is still teaching there currently (2015) and I have no idea if she was ever talked to about her behaviour by management. Obviously it doesn’t matter because she still has her job, faculty protects faculty! It is too bad because I would hate for any other student to have their dreams crushed like they crushed mine. The mental anguish I experienced during those 6 months in the program and then during the legal proceeding was excruciating. Would they be so quick to kick out a faculty member’s son or daughter? How would they feel if this professor demeaned their straight A achieving child in this way? I worked so hard to get into the physical therapy program and now I probably won’t be able to get in to a program in Canada, even if I do I would spend thousands of dollars and two more years of lost income. Back in 2009, the physical therapy department forced another visible minority who had an actual disability out of the program. To me it suggests a frightening pattern, one that students collectively have to take a stand against. It doesn't matter if you aren't a visible minority or a disabled student and perhaps thinking that what happened to me couldn't happen to you. If you see things like this happening and don't do anything to stop it or to raise awareness, you are part of the problem. Indifference is the biggest cause of society's ills.

 

 

We must be the change we wish to see in this world and it starts with raising awareness about the stereotyping, discrimination and power abuses that go on right under our noses. It is unfortunate that my dream had to be sacrificed in this way but if it helps someone out there have the courage to take a legal and moral stand if they know of something like this happening, or encourage others to do the same, I am glad to have helped.

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very sorry to hear this. No one deserves to be treated like this. Apply to another program? No point going to an university that discriminates u and hurts ur self respect and worth. It is not worth it. Self respect is more important thing.

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very sorry to hear this. No one deserves to be treated like this. Apply to another program? No point going to an university that discriminates u and hurts ur self respect and worth. It is not worth it. Self respect is more important thing.

I wish I could go to another program, but the gossip will kill you. This orthopedics professor is very influential in the program having published several course manuals and she has a way of telling people things so that they believe her, even with a stunning lack of evidence. She twists things to make me look like the bad one. Already during the legal proceeding she claimed that she is suffering and is taking medications, wondering if she would be held personally responsible every time she fails a student. I believe that she wants to be seen as a professor who was trying to help me by identifying a disability that no one else before her was able to. No remorse for what she has done to my life though! I never received any apology. Her only regret is that she made a human rights violation and she got caught in a legal battle, thus costing the school thousands. Once the appeal was in Western's court, they thought they could do whatever they wanted, with no regard for fairness. Once they realized I was going to take it further because they made a human rights violation, they knew they were screwed. This is their second one in the last 6 years. This is why as a student you have to stand up for yourself, once the school realizes they can't abuse their power over students, they will change their behaviour.

 

I had to stay really strong in the legal process, Western lied like crazy, particularly before I retained a lawyer. I wasn't planning to retain a lawyer but it was clear that I was not being taken seriously without one. I had to get a transcriptionist to hold them accountable, even though it was incredibly expensive. They tried everything to stop it from being recorded but they couldn't. The teaching assistant's affidavit had several lies on it which with documents released the day before, I was in a position to expose her lies. The teaching assistant is a friend of this professor and is also a professor herself, teaching an anatomy course in the Fall semester. Western claimed they didn't have a hard copy student file for me, magically the day before trial with a legal summons, they were forced to release all the dirty laundry emails of professors discussing me. The way they discussed me was incredibly derogatory, embarrassing and unfit for educators. They knowingly broke privacy and ethical rules.

 

I can see several students and faculty at Western, plus several physiotherapists in Canada appearing on the "who you may know" section even though we don't have any connections in common. This usually means that while signed out of their account they viewed my profile and it is likely that they have heard what happened. All the MPT programs I visited require all previous school transcripts and inevitably admissions officers will see the transcript from Western and contact them regarding why I withdrew. My only option is the United States, but that is way too costly and I simply can't afford it. The debt will take forever to pay off if I move back here because the salary is lower.

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I'm so sorry that you experienced this, pastMPT. I can't imagine anyone deserving to be treated like that! As frustrating as it is to start over, I hope you find a much more supportive academic community and a career that you love.

Thank you for your warm wishes.

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I wish I could go to another program, but the gossip will kill you. This orthopedics professor is very influential in the program having published several course manuals and she has a way of telling people things so that they believe her, even with a stunning lack of evidence. She will try to twist things to make me look like the bad one. Already during the legal proceeding she claimed that she is suffering and is taking medications, wondering if she would be held personally responsible every time she fails a student. She wants to be seen as a victim, as a professor who was trying to help me by identifying a disability that no one else before her was able to. No remorse for what she has done to my life though! I never received any apology. Her only regret is that she made a human rights violation and she got caught in a legal battle, thus costing the school thousands. Once the appeal was in Western's court, they thought they could do whatever they wanted, with no regard for fairness. Once they realized I was going to take it further because they made a human rights violation, they knew they were screwed. This is their second one in the last 6 years. This is why as a student you have to stand up for yourself, once the school realizes they can't abuse their power over students, they will change their behaviour.

 

I had to stay really strong in the legal process, Western lied like crazy, particularly before I retained a lawyer. I wasn't planning to retain a lawyer but it was clear that I was not being taken seriously without one, their lawyer probably thought I was an easy mark. I had to get a transcriptionist to hold them accountable, even though it was incredibly expensive. They tried everything to stop it from being recorded but they couldn't. The teaching assistant's affidavit had several lies on it which with documents released the day before, I was in a position to expose her lies. The teaching assistant is a friend of this professor and is also a professor herself, teaching an anatomy course in the Fall semester. Western claimed they didn't have a hard copy student file for me, magically the day before trial with a legal summons, they were forced to release all the dirty laundry emails of professors discussing me. The way they discussed me was incredibly derogatory, embarrassing and unfit for educators. They knowingly broke privacy and ethical rules.

 

I have had a tremendous amount of linkedin profile visits from students and faculty at Western, plus several physiotherapists in Canada, all of whom have heard what happened. All the MPT programs I visited require all previous school transcripts and inevitably admissions officers will see the transcript from Western and contact them regarding why I withdrew. My only option is the United States, but that is way too costly and I simply can't afford it. The debt will take forever to pay off if I move back here because the salary is lower.

This is very tragic..maybe talk to the media and news? 

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I was thinking of going to the media, but it is tough to gauge how people will react. There are always people who try to use things against you, even if you are not at fault. With that being said, this experience has made me a stronger person and at some point in the future I may come out in the open and tell my story publicly- Western certainly deserves to be held accountable for their actions in the public's eye. I hope that everyone reading this thread spreads the word about what happened so that future potential victims at Western have more courage to take a stand. I'm sure it has happened many times before but students feel shame and never tell anyone or pursue legal avenues. I know my actions have made a difference and they will think twice about ever doing something like this in the future. Even if her colleagues pretend to support her to her face, I'm sure that many of them disapprove of what she did and she will have to live with the stigma of violating human rights for the rest of her working career.

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I am appalled and deeply sadden to learn about such traumatizing experience within the educational system. I am also a South Asian women and I feel hurt knowing how condescending the authority figures can be. I appreciate your willingness to share this ordeal with current and future rehabilitation students. Wishing you all the best.

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This is extremely disturbing. Try applying for your masters in Ireland. They are very receptive to Canadians and have a strong Masters in physiotherapy program. University college of Dublin is a great program (I was going to go there for my masters but I got into Dal). They won't ask questions about your past and its a responsible price compared to the U.S. And it will be easier to come back to Canada afterwards.

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I am appalled and deeply sadden to learn about such traumatizing experience within the educational system. I am also a South Asian women and I feel hurt knowing how condescending the authority figures can be. I appreciate your willingness to share this ordeal with current and future rehabilitation students. Wishing you all the best.

Thank you. Hopefully as a result of this they will learn that being condescending and abusing their power has serious consequences that will haunt them.

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This is extremely disturbing. Try applying for your masters in Ireland. They are very receptive to Canadians and have a strong Masters in physiotherapy program. University college of Dublin is a great program (I was going to go there for my masters but I got into Dal). They won't ask questions about your past and its a responsible price compared to the U.S. And it will be easier to come back to Canada afterwards.

That could be an option. Right now I am trying to work to save money but perhaps in the near future.

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I understand you're very upset but please avoid from posting the same thread on multiple forums, i have removed the others.

 

all the best.

I posted on multiple forums because students at Western have a right to know what is going on at the school they attend, this situation could happen in any department. Other health discipline students will probably not go to the physiotherapy forum unless there is a link to it in their own forum. You are using your power as moderator to block this critical information from reaching students who could benefit and gain courage from reading my story to stand up for themselves and others.

 

You are correct in that I am upset about this, but I didn't take the time to post it on multiple forums just because I am upset. I want my experience to be of use to people so that this unfortunate situation doesn't happen again. The least you could do is leave the thread up there because it doesn't hurt anyone and has the potential to save a student's career dreams from being dashed like mine were.

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I'm really sorry you went through this. Just wanted to let you know that many grad students have witnessed this kind of abuse, stemming from prejudice from various faculty members. Professors can be convincing and their peers, especially pre-tenure, are incentivized to support senior staff. I've known brilliant people that have survived this kind of stuff and gone on to accomplish exactly what they'd set out to do. In each case, they essentially had to start fresh, sacrificing a year or two. So you're not alone and there's hope. Plenty of it.

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I'm really sorry you went through this. Just wanted to let you know that many grad students have witnessed this kind of abuse, stemming from prejudice from various faculty members. Professors can be convincing and their peers, especially pre-tenure, are incentivized to support senior staff. I've known brilliant people that have survived this kind of stuff and gone on to accomplish exactly what they'd set out to do. In each case, they essentially had to start fresh, sacrificing a year or two. So you're not alone and there's hope. Plenty of it.

Actually most of the people who were supporting her didn't have an incentive to do so. One teaching assistant who was herself a professor had a tenure job and the chair of the department, vice provost and SRBA were all higher in status than her. 

 

In any case, you are right in that I will have to sacrifice some time but I am determined to have a successful career. I am looking into a wider variety of options in rehabilitation and some other fields I have an interest in.

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I would like to start by saying that I was a student who has completed Western's MPT program and was in the same year as the original poster. I can confirm that essentially most of what was said in these past posts is a lie. You had several safety fails on our practical exams in multiple classes not just the ones you describe. None of your classmates felt safe or comfortable having you practice manual therapy and other techniques on them. During practical exams we had to be mock patients for our classmates and I have personally been in a station with you where you had a safety fail, and I'm not the only one! There are many more things I could post here that I will refrain from doing, but you need to stop slandering Western's program and teaching faculty.

 

You were not an appropriate fit for the program and again unfortunately you just were not safe while practicing in mock scenarios. I cannot imagine what would happen in real life with the safety of real patients in your hands. I would also like to say that no one was discriminating against you. You had ample oppurtunity to practice and even with practice were not grasping the necessary bare minimum standards for our profession.

 

As to this professor you are talking about again I would ask that you stop speaking ill of her. While you may have had a bad experience, which I cannot confirm. I can confirm that if you asked any of our class it would be a unanimous answer that this person was the best teacher we have ever had. This teacher inspired us to be the best that we could be and always pushed us to strive for excellence.

 

I'm sorry for the long winded post but I want to confirm that Western's MPT program does not discriminate against minorities or those with learning disabilities. They will give you absolutely every chance to succeed. Again unfortunately the original poster did not meet the minimum necessary skills (including SAFETY of patients) to stay in the program and is clearly still bitter about it.

 

If anyone wants confirmation that I was a student in the year described by the original poster, you can PM me and I would gladly give you my College of PT number to confirm my year and that I am not currently associated with the university.

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...There are many more things I could post here that I will refrain from doing, but you need to stop slandering Western's program and teaching faculty...

I don't want to get in the middle of this disagreement, but I would just like to say I think it was inappropriate to use the original poster's name in your followup post, MPT. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming that was a typo, but please refrain from using other people's names or personal information that they have not consented to you using in your future posts. Not taking sides, just trying to maintain the integrity of the forums. I apologize again if this was a typo or mistake.

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I don't want to get in the middle of this disagreement, but I would just like to say I think it was inappropriate to use the original poster's name in your followup post, MPT. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt by assuming that was a typo, but please refrain from using other people's names or personal information that they have not consented to you using in your future posts. Not taking sides, just trying to maintain the integrity of the forums. I apologize again if this was a typo or mistake.

That is fair. I have removed it. It is just frustrating because OP has been dragging this out for years now and lieing about things the whole time. I don't like when someone insults and excellent program and teaching staff

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To the student who posted as MPT you are the one who is a liar, you don't know what grades I received on any exams and there is no way you could know, even if you were in a station with me. You can't confirm if I had a safety fail or not unless you saw my marking sheet which you couldn't have. The physiotherapy board has percentage requirements which I met in these other courses and to say that I would be a safety concern to patients is malicious and unwarranted. The university is under obligation to keep my exams private.

 

You don't have the legal facts of the case, and you are not in a position to comment, plain and simple. All you have to go by is westerns version of gossip. My peer feedback sheet stated that numerous times that I am hardworking, persistent and determined. My experience was not your experience and you have no right to judge me. Every student has different interactions with the teaching faculty and you are not privy to the private conversations I had with her, which by the way she had not disputed for the most part. So stop claiming that you know more than you do because you don't, you are just ignorant and vindictive. Let this be a warning to you, if you ever post my name with these types of ill informed remarks again, I will take you to court because I have more than enough factual evidence to prove my case. Western underestimated me, so don't make the same mistake.

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To the student who posted as MPT you are the one who is a liar, you don't know what grades I received on any exams and there is no way you could know, even if you were in a station with me. You can't confirm if I had a safety fail or not unless you saw my marking sheet which you couldn't have. The university is under obligation to keep my exams private. You don't have the legal facts of the case, and you are not in a position to comment, plain and simple. All you have to go by is westerns version of gossip. My peer feedback sheet stated that numerous times that I am hardworking, persistent and determined. My experience was not your experience and you have no right to judge me. Every student has different interactions with the teaching faculty and you are not privy to the private conversations I had with her, which by the way she had not disputed for the most part. So stop claiming that you know more than you do because you don't, you are just ignorant and vindictive. Let this be a warning to you, if you ever post my name with these types of ill informed remarks again, I will take you to court because I have more than enough factual evidence to prove my case. Western underestimated me, so don't make the same mistake.

Right well I will be flagging this post to the forums administration as your rants are completely inappropriate.

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IF your definition of a rant is responding to your completely ill informed and malicious post with an intelligent and accurate response, I guess it is. What can you say to dispute what I have said? Nothing. You won't even reveal to me your identity by private message so I know who I am talking to.

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That is fair. I have removed it. It is just frustrating because OP has been dragging this out for years now and lieing about things the whole time. I don't like when someone insults and excellent program and teaching staff

By the way, it is spelled lying, not lieing. MPT grads should know how to spell basic words, shouldn't they?

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